SPER’s Executive Committee is comprised of eight officers and includes a President, a President-Elect, an Immediate Past-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, four Members-at-Large, a Student Representative, and an International Representative. The 2022 Elections will include voting for the following positions:
- Member-at-Large to chair the SPER Equity Advisory Board
- Student Representative
2022 Members of SPER are entitled to one vote per category. Learn more about the candidates below.
Voting will conclude on May 13, 2022.
Penelope (Penny) P. Howards, PhD (she/her/hers)
Department of Epidemiology
Rollins School of Public Health
If elected, I would be delighted to serve as President of SPER, a society that has played a formative role in my career. I have been attending SPER annual meetings for over 20 years since I was a student, and I previously served as a member-at-large on the Executive Committee. Each year I am impressed by the quality of the research presented and the feeling of community at the annual meeting, even as we temporarily moved to a virtual format. Read more
I describe myself as a reproductive epidemiologist with methodological interests. I have studied a wide range of outcomes related to reproductive health. Most recently, I have focused on fertility in cancer survivors, women with lupus, and women with sickle cell disease. I also enjoy exploring how to address sources of bias that arise in applied studies. I am passionate about mentoring and teaching. I have mentored a diverse group of students, teach a required intermediate course on epidemiologic methods, and have organized multiple seminars on effective teaching in epidemiology. My experience working in academia, the federal government, and a state department of social and health services gives me insight into the mentoring and educational needs for SPER members with different career trajectories.
One of the things I appreciate the most about SPER has been the opportunity to meet people at different stages in their careers and with a range of research interests within the field of reproductive, pediatric, and perinatal epidemiology. I particularly value the opportunities the Society creates for students and trainees. I would be honored to work with the Executive Committee to build on the Society’s record of presenting strong research in a supportive environment and to work with SPER members and prospective members at all career stages to identify new ways that the Society can help them achieve their professional goals.
Edwina Yeung, PhD (she/her/hers)
Senior Investigator and Acting Branch Chief
Epidemiology Branch, Division of Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
I am honored to be asked to run for SPER president. I’ve been a member since my postdoc, over a decade ago. SPER has always been a scientific home for my growth and development as a perinatal epidemiologist and I appreciate the opportunity to give back to the organization that has meant so much to my own professional development. Read more
Member-at-Large to Chair the SPER Equity Advisory Board
Bola Grace, MSc, PhD, MBA (she/her/hers)
Institute for Women’s Health
Faculty of Population Health Sciences
University College London
Dr Bola Grace has extensive experience in women’s health across multiple sectors. She values collaborative research into a variety of topics including reproductive epidemiology, digital health, gender and health inequalities. Read more
She has over a decade of previous leadership experience in industry, providing strategic and technical direction to highly skilled cross-functional teams on complex programmes; pioneering new systems and processes to bring greater value; delivering numerous innovative award-winning products and providing inclusive innovation solutions. She is also an academic with extensive research on digital health, gender and health inequalities. Within academia, she holds honorary and visiting faculty roles where she lectures and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, presents at national and international conferences, and published journal articles. She also sits on various scientific committees and boards.
Her PhD, which she did on-the-job, was in Population Health and Epidemiology from University College London. She used quantitative and qualitative mixed-methods research to evaluate knowledge and awareness of reproductive health; socioeconomic factors influencing decision-making and to identify improvement opportunities to enable men and women achieve their desired reproductive intentions. She also holds an Executive MBA from The University of Cambridge Judge Business School, where her research focussed on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, publishing extensively on these topics. She is FHEA qualified (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
She has presented at the SPER online meetings and is keen to serve on the SPER Executive Committee, as a member-at-large to bring diverse and international perspectives, to further grow the impactful work being of the SPER.
Stephanie Leonard, PhD, MS (she/her/hers)
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Stanford University School of Medicine
California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative
I’ve been an active member of SPER since I was a doctoral student, including serving as the Student Representative and on the Program Committee (2018-2019), on the Outreach Committee (2019-2021), and on the recently established Equity Advisory Board (2021 to present). Read more
Helen B. Chin, PhD (she/her/hers)
Department of Global and Community Health
George Mason University
I would be honored to serve as SPER Secretary. SPER and its members have provided me with mentorship, networking, and research opportunities – all of which have nurtured my development as a reproductive epidemiologist.
Currently, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University. My research is focused on investigating endocrine disrupting exposures that adversely affect the reproductive health of women and girls. Read more
I have been an active member of SPER since 2012 when I joined as an epidemiology PhD student at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Every year, I look forward to attending the annual meeting, reviewing abstracts, and presenting oral and poster presentations. I joined the SPER Program Committee in its inaugural year and have continued to serve on that committee for each subsequent meeting. When we moved online due to the pandemic, I became more involved in the annual meeting by co-moderating a session focused on fertility and fecundity, and hosting several SPER speed talks, which provided additional opportunities for members to give oral presentations. Now, I am excited about the opportunity to serve in a greater capacity on the SPER Executive Committee as Secretary.
Student Representative Candidates
Menolly Kaufman, MPH (she/her/hers)
Epidemiology PhD candidate
Oregon Health & Science University – Portland State University School of Public Health
Senior Research Associate
Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at Oregon Health & Science University
I am honored to be nominated for the Student Representative (2022-2023) position at the Society of Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER). Read more
I am a passionate perinatal epidemiologist and PhD candidate at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) – Portland State University (PSU) School of Public health. Prior to entering my doctoral program, I received my MPH in epidemiology at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. After my master’s program, I worked at Mathematica Policy Research and a Medicaid Payer. In addition to my doctoral studies, I am a senior research associate at the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at OHSU and a lecturer in epidemiology for the MPH@GW program. Both my doctoral and “day job” research focus on how health policies and healthcare system affect maternal morbidity and well-being.
This position excites me because I would love to plan, support, and execute virtual and in-person events that are relevant and engaging for SPER as a whole and for students/trainees especially. At the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, my favorite event of the year is our annual research conference – a public facing event showcasing student public health research. I have served as co-chair for the annual conference for the past three years. I am passionate about lifting up the transformative research and public practice work of our student body, inviting keynote speakers, and organizing student volunteers. I look forward to bringing this depth of experience to planning the Advanced Methods workshop for the SPER Annual Meeting in 2023. I promise to engage with and listen to a diverse group of trainees to ensure that we host an event that is methodologically rigorous and relevant to advancing equity within our field.
Serving on the SPER Executive Committee as the Student Representative (2022-2023) would truly be an honor. I hope you will consider supporting my candidacy.